For the Chinese, 2012 was the year of the dragon – a mythological serpent sometimes known for breathing fire and flying high – which is now synonymous with Oriental culture. Now replace the sizzling breath with crisp pixels and the altitude with gigabytes, what you et is a way of life that’s fast catching on in Nigeria. From debit cards and data bundles to touch screens and 140 characters, 2012 was our “year of the tech” – or more appropriately, our “year of technology consumption”. Powered on and loading… here are some of the prevailing styles of the past year:
1. The Public Square: With millions of Nigerians on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, many brands have also come on board to claim their share of this marketplace. There has been a fierce race to recruit as many fans and followers as possible, resulting in constituencies that can receive important information and give relevant feedback. Small businesses with even smaller budgets now have online presence thanks to the free sign-ups, a few photos and the freedom to speak.
2. Travel-Sized: 140 million people with more than 100 million mobile devices – this is a definite majority! As more people accessed the internet from their phones, there was also an explosive growth in the use of smart phones and tablet computers. Advertisers also responded accordingly by tailoring their campaign activities to this platform and even developing custom mobile apps for consumers.
3. Add to Cart: Due to a growing selection of products available online and confidence in the security of these interfaces, the Nigerian consumer performed more electronic transactions than before. This faith in the system in turn led to a proliferation of e-commerce sites like Quickteller, DealDey, Jumia, Konga etc.
4. Door Men: And the entrance porch became the new lounge! Homepage ads were the in thing last year as advertisers jostled to cover the homepages of Yahoo! Mail and Goal.com amongst others. This prime real estate guaranteed a lot of impressions on high-traffic sites. It seemed that if your brand was big enough then it should have had one of these.
5. Verified: The blue verified badge established the authenticity of accounts on Twitter. Nigerian celebrities picked up a number of the badges for the first time ever in 2012. This verification which was to help users discover legitimate sources of tweets, became bragging rights for the allure of those who had them. Unfortunately, no Nigerian brand account got this stamp of authenticity.